June 27, 2013
13-201

Jessica Pope
Communications Specialist

State Deaf, Hard of Hearing Town Hall Coming to VSU Saturday

VALDOSTA — The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities will host a Resources for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Town Hall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 29, at Valdosta State University. The event will be held in the Student Union Theater and is open to the public.

The purpose of the town hall meeting is to gain a better understanding of what services are available to the deaf and hard of hearing community and which state and local agencies offer those services.

“I would like to see it become an annual event, but this hasn’t been determined,” said Amy Peterson, deaf services coordinator with the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. “I came up with that idea when I first moved here two years ago. I was confused on what exactly do the agencies do. Some of them seem to be redundant. I felt that the rest of the deaf community might feel that way as well. I also wanted the community to know what is out there, so they can use it to the fullest.”

The Georgia Association of the Deaf, Georgia Council for the Hearing Impaired Inc., and Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency will also participate in the town hall. The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities’ Deaf Services division will provide interpreters; VSU’s American Sign Language Club will provide support and refreshments.

“This type of town hall is to ensure that deaf people have a voice in the services that are provided them by the state,” said Christia T. Williams, faculty advisor for VSU’s American Sign Language Club and an instructor in the university’s Department of Middle, Secondary, Reading, and Deaf Education. “It is to raise awareness of what is available and ask what they feel is needed. It is very important, especially in rural areas like ours.”

Contact Amy Peterson at (404) 991-2306 or ampeterson@dbhdd.ga.gov for more information.